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Date:   Wed, 26 Apr 2023 11:11:10 -0700
From:   Linus Torvalds <>
To:     Nick Desaulniers <>
Cc:     "Theodore Ts'o" <>,
        Nathan Chancellor <>,,,
Subject: Re: [GIT PULL] ext4 changes for the 6.4 merge window

On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 10:34 AM Nick Desaulniers
<> wrote:
> That's what clang's _Nonnull attribute does (with -Wnullability-extension).

No, that's a warning about using it, not a warning about testing for
NULL when it's there.

I actually tested _Nonnull.  It seems to work for arguments. But it
does not work for return values.

Of course, maybe there's some other magic needed, but it does seem to
be sadly not working for us.

> But it's not toolchain portable, at the moment.  Would require changes
> to clang to use the GNU C __attribute__ syntax, too (which I'm not
> against adding support for).

No need for using the __attribute__ syntax at all, that would _not_ be
a show-stopper.

While it's true that it's the common syntax, and we sometimes use it
explicitly because of that, it's by no means the only syntax, and we
actually tend to try to have more legible wrappers around it.

So, for example, we prefer using '__weak' instead of writing

And no, it very much doesn't have to use __attibute__ at all. We
already have things like

    #define __diag(s)          _Pragma(__diag_str(GCC diagnostic s))

so we already use other syntaxes.

End result: if it actually worked, I'd happily do something like

   #define __return_nonnull _Nonnull

in <linux/compiler-clang.h>, with then <linux/compiler-gcc.h> then just having

     #define __return_nonnull

along with a big comment about how __attribute__((nonnull)) is
horrible garbage that should never every be used.


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